HabitAware is a smart wearable bracelet dedicated to controlling Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD). OCD can be felt with varying levels of intensity and cover a number of different behaviors. The wearable monitors movement and sends a subtle alert if a person shows signs of doing something compulsively.
HabitAware’s sleek Keen bracelet resembles a sports activity tracker. Using Bluetooth technology, it can be customized to deliver a vibration to alert the wearer of their often subconscious compulsion. Available in a variety of colors and sizes including one for children, it sells online for $149.
While this sounds super intriguing to a perpetual nail biter like myself, it could mean even more to someone suffering from trichotillomania, which is the obsessive-compulsive disorder in which people pull out their own hair (including brows and lashes, too). It affects about 4 percent of the population and can be embarrassing and problematic for …
OK, so what is the Keen? Its a bracelet that looks much like a fitness tracker, but what it does is recognise when you are pulling, and give you a little vibration to bring your unconscious pulling action into your conscious mind, so you can break the habit.
Aneela Idnani Kumar says the genesis for Keen—a Fitbit-shaped device that aims to stop nervous habits like nail-biting and skin-picking—came when her husband, Sameer, confronted her about her disappearing eyebrows. For more than two decades, Aneela had been suffering from trichotillomania, a disorder more commonly known as hair pulling.
The problem with quitting a compulsive habit isn’t that it’s impossible for people to stop it in the moment — few would be have any problem refraining from biting their nails if someone noticed them doing it. Rather, the issue is that these compulsive habits become reflexive, so people don’t even realize they’re doing them.
HabitAware Inc., a Minneapolis-based startup that created Keen, a wrist-worn device designed to stop nervous ticks like nail biting and skin picking, announced the closure of a funding round on Monday.
Co-founded by husband and wife duo Aneela Kumar and Sameer Kumar with partners Kirk Klobe and John Pritchard — HabitAware’s Keen bracelet is designed to stop bad habits from happening.
Enter the couple’s new invention — Keen, a vibrating “smart bracelet” for ages 5 and older from their company, HabitAware. Keen bracelets (starting at $129) recognize when a user is engaging in a body-focused repetitive behavior and vibrate to alert the user.
At wearable tech company HabitAware, Aneela Idnani Kumar has two job titles. The first, marketing/design lead, is easy enough to understand. But her other position, “chief trichster,” is a less conventional designation. “Trichster” is a colloquial term for a person who compulsively pulls out hair as part of a disorder known as trichotillomania.
Aneela and Sameer (her husband and co-founder) saw an opportunity with this particular condition, to “raise awareness” in an entirely different way. As tech-savvy individuals, they had the idea to use haptics to draw a sufferer’s attention to their repetitive behavior, making them aware of it so that they could choose to stop.
Aneela Kumar counts herself as one of those people, desperate to find a way to stop the habit specifically called trichotillomania. Left with eyebrows and eyelashes so thin they were barely visible after 20 years, she looked for a device she could lean on to wean herself from the behavior, finding none. So she invented …
It's important that Keen fits snugly. Here's a quick guide to help you decide which bracelet size to order: